Tuesday, April 24, 2012

who is NOT Jizo?

In Buddhist mythology, Jizo is an enlightened being who has "vowed not to enter Nirvana until the Hell Realm is empty. His vow: 'Not until the hells are emptied will I become a Buddha ....'"

Everyone has their particular hell to cope with. Uncertainty, sorrow, confusion ... the tendrils are specific and compelling. There is no one-hell-fits-all, unless, perhaps, it is the hell of wishing to get to heaven.

In Buddhism, a bodhisattva like Jizo is held up as a mentor and bright light -- an aspect of human capacity that beckons and whispers. Non-Buddhists are the same. The names don't matter. 

But since there is no escape from hell (religious doctrine to the contrary notwithstanding), it seems to me that everyone, not by wish, but by necessity, is just Jizo ... always. Even if the fires of hell singe and sear the skin, still, since there is no other choice, Jizo -- this very Jizo -- enters the fires and extinguishes them from flame to ember.

Being Jizo is nothing spectacular or out of reach or holy. It's not as if some guru walked up to Sally or Peter and announced in a grave voice, "You are Sally" or "You are Peter." If someone tells you that you are Jizo, you are well within your rights as dictated by common sense to tell that person, "Go suck an egg!"

Of course you're Jizo. What other choice is there? Any other choice would be an endless hell.

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